Is there anything better than a one-team town rising to the occasion and landing a few punches against a more fancied rival from the big smoke?
There’s not. It’s brilliant.
But what blows that out of the water is the rare instance that one-team town exceeds all expectations – aside from their own, of course – and lands the knock-out blow to be the last man standing in September.
Forbes’ win in the Blowes Clothing Cup grand final over two-time defending premiers Orange Emus was as good as it gets on a sporting field.
The nervous build-up. The tense opening phases. The sense of belief at half-time. The jubilation as the final whistle is blown. The chaotic celebrations post game.
It’s impossible not to get swept up in – or slip up in, if you’re the mysterious ‘Forbes Faller’ that went base-over-apex in the live video of the final stages of the 2017 decider.
These moments from underdog outfits draw people to the sport, and keep them coming back for more.
They’re moments that have been few are far between in the history of the Central West Rugby Union’s top flight, one that stretches back to 1956.
After Molong won its third straight CWRU top grade title in 1970, only three other small-town teams have been crowned the region’s premier side before Forbes’ victory on Saturday.
The Platypi ended a 33-year Bathurst-Orange-Dubbo monopoly on the competition in 2003, before Narromine’s 2009 triumph and Parkes’ 2011 success there after.
The Forbes First XV that enjoyed the 28-20 victory over Emus on Saturday joins an elite club.
Platypi coach Hare Lavaka was also a player in the Parkes’ win, as was half Mahe Fangupo. The pair are surely among two of the smartest rugby minds in the region.
The Blowes Clothing Cup will in 2018 and 2019 be reduced to just six sides after the CWRU underwent an extensive review of its structures this season.
It’s highly likely – although yet to be confirmed – Orange City, Orange Emus, Bathurst Bulldogs, CSU Bathurst and Dubbo Roos, the five clubs that have dominated the top flight since that win by Molong 47 years ago, will be joined by just Forbes as the lone one-team town representative from next season.
That leaves Cowra, Parkes, Dubbo Rhinos and Mudgee in a second tier and, if you ask me, takes away some of the romance that country rugby is built and thrives on.
That us-versus-them mentality Forbes has used to win a title.
And while the mighty Platypi will ensure there’s a tiny town still landing plenty of punches in the top flight in the next two years, we’re not going to see any other contenders emerge from the canvas.
It’s a real shame.
PICNIC VETERAN A WORTHY WINNER
If you know the racing game around western NSW then you know the name Rodney Robb.
Even those from outback tracks in other states would know him due to the sheer amount of travel he does each year.
A true country racing man, the Nyngan trainer was an incredibly worthy winner of the inaugural $50,000 Picnic Championship Final at Dubbo Turf Club on Sunday.
A new initiative to support and recognise those who race for only a few thousand dollars normally, the event created a huge amount of buzz and Security Code's win in the final was one of the real highlights of Sunday's a bumper day of racing.
BULLDOGS PROVE UP TO THE TASK
Well done to the Bathurst Bulldogs girls that took home the club’s first Blowes Clothing Cup women’s crown on Saturday, in the blue and golds’ first venture into the women’s competition too.
A great effort considering the majority of the team hadn’t played a game of rugby prior to the 2017 season.
JUST IN CASE YOU MISSED IT …
Jump online and check out the Central Western Daily Sport Facebook page’s live video of the final stages of the Blowes Clothing Cup grand final.
Jump to the three minute mark and watch the Platypi supporter in the vintage No.7 jumper hit the deck after finding the only muddy patch of Endeavour Oval.
It’d make the grand final of failed premiership celebrations, and probably win it as well.